Free Business Plan Template
Writing a good business plan is the first step to detailing exactly what you want your business to achieve and how you intend to achieve it. Whether you are a new or existing business, a well written business plan can help to clarify your ideas, aims and objectives and ensure you focus on the right things.
Your business plan is also an essential document to secure finance for your business.
Our free business plan template has been designed to simplify the process of writing your own business plan. Simply complete the form opposite to download and access the following:
- Business plan template (Word document and Adobe PDF file)
- Financial planning spreadsheet (Excel template)
- Business plan writing tips from the pros
To help you even further, we will also email you a short series of business plan writing tips. Based on over 10 years’ experience of writing business plans for clients from across the business spectrum – from start-ups to established enterprises – we will share with you exactly what it takes to craft a strong and funder friendly business plan.
In the meantime, please explore the rest of this page for free advice and tips on how to write a winning business plan.
Business Plan Writing Services
Business Plan Review Service
If you’ve completed our free business plan template but want a professional ‘eye’ to look over it and provide expert feedback, then our specialist business plan review service can help.
Business Plan Writer Service
For over 10 years the Business Plan Writer HQ has provided a bespoke and professional business plan writing service for both new and established companies across the UK.
Six Reasons Why You Must Have a Business Plan
Everyone knows the importance of writing a business plan, especially when first starting out in business. Here are six reasons why writing a business plan is essential for your success:
- Clarifies your business idea
A business plan allows you to look at your business or business idea objectively – especially if it’s written by a professional. It allows you to see from the very start that your business can work and that you are heading in the right direction.
By ensuring you have considered as well as written down the fundamentals of running your business first i.e. how you are going to get clients, do you have all the necessary legalities and insurances in place, do the numbers add up etc., you will have saved yourself a lot of time, effort and pain in the long term, as opposed to simply ‘making it up’ as you go along.
By being clear on what you need to do and how you will do it – and in written form – will allow you to get clear on your business idea before you even set out.
- Communicates your plan of action
A business plan details and demonstrates to the reader exactly what you are trying to achieve. Chances are you might be working with or obtaining help from a number of advisers, associates and strategic partners etc – as such a business plan communicates succinctly what you intend to do, how you intend to get there and what you are going to achieve.
- Keeps you focused and on track
A business plan will help to give you a clear direction and most important of all – focus. As a business owner, you will already know that you’re often juggling lots of roles, and working ‘in’ the business as opposed to ‘on’ the business.
A business plan that details your business vision, explains your mission and sets realistic goals and objectives can help keep you focused and on track. It also allows you to regularly take a step back and reappraise your overall business objectives and strategy.
- Helps develop your marketing
In our experience, ultimately the key to any successful business is ‘cash flow and clients’ – and in particular the latter – as without any clients you simply have a very expensive hobby! A business plan therefore helps you to answer important questions, such as “Who are my customers?”, “How will I reach them?” and “Why should they buy from me?”
- To raise finance
An obvious one, but regardless of where you’re seeking funds, you still need to communicate your business idea in a clear, compelling and professional format. In many instances, a business plan is a ‘passport’ to gaining finance, and so it’s vital to present your idea or existing business in the best light possible. This is sometimes forgotten by business owners, but you must always provide a credible and viable business plan when approaching a bank or other funder provider for funding. Potential investors will look at the strength of your plan when looking to reach a decision.
Therefore you need to not only sell your company, but yourself too. A professionally written business plan will do this for you. In fact, a study by Babson College found that start-ups with a business plan raised twice as much capital as those without a business plan within the first 12 months.
- The single most important reason…
However, we believe that the single most important reason you need to write a business plan, is that the process forces you to think about every aspect of running a business. By writing a business plan it will encourage and prompt you to ask yourself questions about operating your new or current venture that you may not have considered previously.
In our experience, often when someone sits down to write a business plan, they will discover many aspects of running that business that they previously won’t have considered, such as legal implications, insurance, marketing, or in fact whether the business will be profitable. Without a plan, you are making it up as you go along!
Format of a Business Plan
Many people make the mistake of believing that they must write a hefty tome containing lots of very detailed analysis, facts and figures. Whilst a business plan must contain certain elements (see below), the key is to choose a business plan template that works for you and your business. When writing your business plan always consider this:
- Whilst there are no specific rules on page length a concise, compelling and persuasive business plan should come in at between 30-40 pages in length maximum. Above this and you are in danger of waffling and creating a document that is a chore to read.
- Ideally your business plan should be an important document that you will refer to often and become a part of your day-to-day business operations, rather than something that sits in a drawer gathering dust.
- Remember banks and other funding providers are not investing in pretty documents, they are looking to support viable business propositions. Think content over style. We often see business owners spend weeks and months ensuring their business plan looks ‘just right’, whilst still being no closer to completing it and gaining financial support for their business.
- Simply put, make sure your business plan is always right for your audience. Make sure it is readable, and enjoyable to read. Your business plan is your company’s story detailing what your business will do, who will do it, how and the financial viability of your operations. Like any story, it should be interesting and get to the point.
Our free business plan template is designed to simplify the process of writing your business plan, and has been used to write business plans for new start-ups through to existing companies.
Contents of a Business Plan
We are often asked what should be included in a business plan. To be honest, almost every plan is likely to be different in some form, depending on whether your business is a new venture, start-up or established company. However, business plans will always include all or most of the components as described below:
As we mentioned earlier, our advice is to always make sure your business plan is always right for your audience. Depending on who will read your business plan, some categories may need further detail. For example, if the business plan is mainly to be used an internal document then it might need to include a full marketing plan that can be communicated and used across all departments. If, as in most cases, the business plan is being used to seek funding then the financial forecasts and assumptions will need to be more thorough.
When writing a business plan, it is important to always remember who will be reading the document e.g. your bank, your staff, an investor etc., and let the audience dictate the level of analysis and detail required.
Where to Find More Business Plan Writing Help
If you need additional help to write or complete your business plan, here’s how we can help:
- Free Business Plan Template: Simply download our easy-to-follow free business plan template document and financial forecast spreadsheets.
- Business Plan Review Service: if you have completed our free business plan template but feel it needs a professional ‘eye’ to look over it before presenting it to a bank or lending provider, then our specialist business plan review service can provide an expert and candid review of your business plan and financial forecasts.
- Business Plan Writer Service: For over 10 years the Business Plan Writer HQ has provided a bespoke and professional business plan writing service for both new and established companies across the UK. Last year alone, clients secured funds from as little as £3,000 to over £10 million in investment.